Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices by Julius Lipner (University of Cambridge, UK)
Julius Lipner's Hindus is widely recognised as essential reading for everyone wishing to understand one of the world's great religious traditions. Hinduism comprises the religion and culture of the great majority of the people of India, a country tipped to become a world superpower politically, economically and culturally in the course of the present century. The vast array of diverse beliefs and practices usually described as 'Hindu' has been notoriously difficult to corral under a single regulating theme. Julius Lipner provides not only a wide-ranging introduction to Hindu religious and cultural diversity but also suggests a way to characterize Hinduism as a distinct tradition that has survived and adapted to changing circumstances from ancient times to the present day. Lipner is a recognised authority on Hinduism's polycentric emphasis, and his book is based on a lifetime of research and personal experience of his subject.
In this thoroughly revised and substantially enlarged second edition, students of Hinduism will find more coverage of the debate about Hindu origins, the nature and practice of Hindu worship, the role of women, the scope of dharma and morality, Hindu philosophical thought and the use of reason, and the way caste functions.